France’s erroneous policy in Africa has driven Paris into a desperate situation where it is being compelled to recall its diplomats and withdraw its troops from Niger on humiliating terms, Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally faction in the lower house of France’s parliament, said on September 26, Report informs referring to TASS.
"It was not a solution," she said in an interview with the France Inter radio station when asked to comment on French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to recall the ambassador and withdraw troops from Niger. "Actually, [Macron] had no choice. <…> This is sad because the way this is unfolding gives the impression that we are being forcibly kicked out of Africa. But there was no other choice. We are recalling our ambassador and withdrawing our troops on humiliating terms. This is a serious fiasco for French diplomacy."
According to Le Pen, the French leader had apparently been calculating that the Nigerien military rebels would not succeed in holding power this long and that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would eventually intervene militarily in the country to restore constitutional order. "But nothing like this happened in reality. An analysis of the situation shows that he had no other option but to announce the withdrawal," she said.
In late July, a group of military rebels in Niger announced the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum. The mutineers then established the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (known by its French abbreviation CNSP, for Conseil national pour la sauvegarde de la patrie), headed by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, to run the country. ECOWAS suspended Niger’s membership in the organization and imposed tough sanctions on the country. Apart from that, ECOWAS leaders demanded that the rebels release Bazoum and warned about the possibility of a military resolution of the situation if he was not released. The ActuNiger portal reported on August 10 that Tchiani had signed a decree on the formation of a new interim government.
President Macron said on September 24 that French troops would be withdrawn from Niger by the year-end. He also said that Paris is recalling its ambassador from Niamey. The French military contingent in Niger is estimated at some 1,500 troops.